Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Leaving a footprint: Barry James ’83, ‘07

“Footprints on the sands of time are not made by sitting down.” - Proverb (anonymous)

Barry James ’83, ’07 is a man on the move.
LGBTQ PRIDE: Peirce alum Barry
James praises the College's efforts 

As the facilitator of the 2014 Peirce “Pride Day” program on lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) issues, Barry is in constant motion throughout the discussion.  He goes back and forth across the room to involve each and every one of the many students, alumni, faculty, and staff who have gathered for the event. Equally engaged in the conversation are a group of his friends and colleagues whom he has invited to attend to share their expertise and perspective on LGBTQ-related matters in and out of the workplace.  

Barry, a Technical Support Engineering Group Leader at OSIsoft with more than 25 years of experience in the computer industry, came well-prepared to facilitate this year’s Pride event, part of the College’s overall Diversity and Inclusion initiative. One of the most active alumni volunteers in the Peirce network, Barry serves on progra
m advisory boards, speaks at career panels, and leads as a member of the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors.

He is also deeply involved in LGBTQ groups such as the national organization Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM), and is a board member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Ally (LGBTA) Student Resource Center at Penn State (he will be receiving his Master of Leadership Development from the University next month).

In the spirit of giving back to his alma mater, Barry was happy to blend all of his experiences as the facilitator of the Peirce Pride Day program. While he came to the evening typically prepared with a host of questions, he wound up going “off script," and let the conversation flow as it evolved throughout the evening.

LGBTQ participants and their straight allies in the audience talked about a host of topics during Pride Day: making a difference in the workplace, same-sex marriage, recruitment and hiring processes, the pace of societal change, and promoting and sustaining a welcoming environment for the LGBTQ community at Peirce.

While Barry commends the College for the work that it is already doing in promoting awareness and dialogue, he holds a vision that expands on Peirce’s current base of activity for the LGBTQ community.
He sees opportunities for  greater involvement from students and alumni, suggesting, for example, that the celebration of Pride Day be complemented by year-round programming which would enhance the professional opportunities and personal development of the Peirce learning community.

He envisions website resources designed to serve the needs of Peirce students who take their classes online, or alumni who live around the country. In addition, he hopes the College will expand its footprint into the neighboring physical community -- affectionately known in Philadelphia as “the Gayborhood" -- and become a resource for residents who could benefit from the educational opportunities that Peirce could provide. Barry looks forward to working in conjunction with the College’s Diversity & Inclusion Council to help implement these ideas.

When it comes to actively moving the College forward in supporting the LGBTQ community, Barry James is a man who walks the talk, and Peirce is enhanced by his active, thoughtful participation.